Abridged version of the May 28 and June 4, 2021, Citizen round table meeting minutes

Friday, May 28, 2021

On May 28, 2021, Élections Québec invited the members of the Citizen round table to a half-day meeting devoted to political financing information. The meeting also provided an opportunity for members to comment on certain aspects of political financing that were not addressed last March. The complete meeting minutes are available (PDF - in French only).

Word from the Chief Electoral Officer

The Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Pierre Reid, informed the members of the Citizen round table about the primary ongoing issues Élections Québec faces. Specifically, he spoke about the activities related to the November 7, 2021, municipal general elections.

Political financing information

In the first political financing information workshop, members were asked to:

  • Determine which aspects of political financing would gain from informing citizens in general.
  • Identify which aspects would most likely contribute to increasing confidence in the election system and restore a positive image of certain forms of participation.

The aspects of political financing

Members first pointed out the various aspects of political financing that surprised them during the March meeting. Specifically, they stressed:

  • The importance of public funding in the revenues of political parties.
  • Limits set on contributions (electors only: $100 maximum).
  • The extent of the rules implemented and how they interrelate and build upon one another.

Aspects of political financing that Élections Québec should publicize first

When it comes to publicizing political financing information, many of the table members stated that Élections Québec should prioritize the following topics:

  • The fact that only electors can make a political contribution (corporations cannot)
  • The election expense limits (with comparisons)
  • The different and cutting-edge approach of the Québec political financing system
  • The various opportunities for electors to made a difference (by voting, contributing, volunteering), in order to encourage their involvement

Open discussion on political financing

The second workshop allowed members of the Citizen round table to make observations and comment on aspects of political financing that could not be addressed or further explored during the meetings held on March 12 and 19, 2021. These observations and comments are not formal opinions of members, but more just food for thought. Several ideas were shared, including:

  • Promote fairness in the representation of women and minorities as candidates.
  • Decrease the percentage of votes required from 5% to 10% (threshold at 15%) to allow more candidates to receive partial reimbursement of their election expenses.
  • Find ways to value community engagement with political bodies to make electors want to participate.

Friday, June 4, 2021

On Friday, June 4, the members of the Citizen round table were asked to give their opinion on various Élections Québec projects, i.e. the expertise profile for democratic citizenship in Québec schools, the notice of entry sent to electors and the draft version of the communication campaign for municipal general elections. The complete meeting minutes are available (in French only).

Expertise profile for democratic citizenship in Québec schools

The members took part in the reflection initiated by Élections Québec on the different ways to include democratic citizenship in the Québec school curriculum. They indicated which learning experiences they felt was essential to ensure that youth have the knowledge they need to exercise democratic citizenship at the end of their high school education.

Five areas of knowledge were identified as essential or indispensable by many members of the Citizen round table:

  1. Understand the impact of the vote.
  2. Know the components of a democratic society, understand their roles and how they interrelate.
  3. Learn how to be well-informed (where to look for information, critical thinking, distinguishing what’s true from what’s not).
  4. Learn how to develop his or her way of thinking (elaborate on his or her opinion with logical arguments, challenge himself or herself, listen to other people’s ideas).
  5. Be a curious and open-minded person.

Notices of entry

Members were asked to give their opinion on various notices of entry templates, which will be sent to electors on or before the 22nd day before polling day. They were able to compare the old template with the three new templates designed by Élections Québec.

Clarity of information

Overall, members found the information presented on all three notices of entry templates to be clear, but most members preferred the same template because it is easier to understand.

Areas for improvement

Members made a few suggestions for improvements to the various notices of entry templates, such as:

  • Space permitting, state which identification documents are authorized or indicate where to find this information.
  • Modify the calendar to only show the dates on which entry on the list of electors can be revised, dates when voting takes place at the office of the returning officer, as well as all voting days or the entire election period.

Feedback on the communication campaign

Élections Québec presented the members of the Citizen round table with a draft of the communication campaign for the November 2021 municipal general elections. The organization indicated that the feedback given by the members during the two meetings held in the fall of 2020 was taken into account.

In general, table members appreciated this draft version of the campaign. They stressed which of the aspects they particularly liked. Some members also made some suggestions.